The Rosie Bee

Starring Grizzy and Sophie

Oh, 2015…

This was an interesting year, to say the least. There were some big work changes (one that broke my heart and one that just about gave me an ulcer), a serious crisis of confidence, a major death, but when all was said and done, I started and ended the year at jobs I enjoy, with a roof over my head, with enough to eat, and with two healthy kitties, so that’s good.

Sophie and G curled up on the paw print blanket

A year with these two small fries; what could be better than that?

Still, I’ve learned some life lessons in 2015:

Trust your gut. See a red or even yellow flag followed with a reasonable explanation? Think twice. Sometimes it’s best to turn around before the explanations start pouring in.

Nothing is worth getting an ulcer over. My body went haywire from stress and ulcers aren’t worth it. Bodies break down on their own with age; why hasten it? (Yes, easier said than done, but not a bad reminder.)

Plan ahead. It’s never a bad idea to have a nest egg or a Plan B just in case.

Things work out. Things may not work out exactly as you’d hoped, but they will.

True friends are worth gold. I knew this already, but it deserves to be said again.

In random things:

I started reading again! I don’t have a set number of books read, but I’m excited to be reading at least one a week these days. For a good chunk of the year I couldn’t focus (stress, body out of whack) but the last quarter or so things calmed down and voila! Concentration back! Books were read!

I ran a bunch of 5Ks and one 7K. My best time was 30 minutes but I hope to get it under in 2016. Right now I don’t have a set time, but seeing a time start with a “2” would be cool.

I painted a lot of furniture. It’s such fun and very therapeutic.

I watched a lot of Boardwalk Empire (Richard Harrow ❤ ❤ ❤ ) and A Chef's Life. Also PBS and QVC. I love me some commercial-free tv that doesn't move at the speed of light.

I finally signed up for online dating, mostly to tell people "I told you so", and yeah. The experiment is still in its nascent stage, so more to come (maybe).

I freelanced, and once I got into a good rhythm/schedule, I found I really like it! (Now to learn how to make really good money at it, lol.)

I made it halfway through my first term as president of my Toastmasters group. What a learning experience. I'm told my year has been an anomaly but wow. I've had to handle a lot of sensitive situations. Good leadership experience, but I've got to admit, I enjoy giving speeches more.

In “life” events that broke my heart and changed my life
My grandma died. I don’t mean to tuck this in the middle, like it wasn’t the biggest even of 2015, because it was huge. In fact, I’m still processing it.

The whole job thing. Even now I miss the job I had at the beginning of the year. I spoke to my former boss after she left, and she said leaving broke her heart. I feel the same way. I loved what I did and I loved my team, but I didn’t love the craziness all around me. It’s sad, but it’s time to let that little bit go because I know it could never be the same; literally 95% of my team–we’re talking the larger group department here–is gone. But I’m happy to be at a place I enjoy and I look forward to a long future there. That’s definitely a very good way to start 2016.

Next year’s keywords: Balance and mindfulness. I’d like to focus on both, since I didn’t have either this year. Time to get more focused and not so reactive and frankly, I’d like to be a bit calmer and get my confidence back up where it was at the beginning of the year. I think focusing on a good balance and being mindful of keeping that balance will help.

Next year’s goals (do/see/be). A little reminder list for myself:

  • More yoga (specifically, I’d like to be able to do the ashtanga primary series on my own. I love yoga, and I enjoy my DVDs, but it’d be nice to have it be a little more “portable” and committed to memory)
  • Daily meditation
  • Canning! I will can this year!
  • More sewing (I’d like to try for four pieces)
  • Knit a sweater
  • Knock out two speeches and (finally) earn my ACS with Toastmasters
  • Visit a new-to-me state
  • Continue learning Illustrator
  • Volunteer regularly. Probably with a shelter or animal rescue.
  • Make a book of photos for 2016. I had planned to do that this year and it fell off my radar. It’s too easy to let images just sit on my phone; 2016 will be the year they are put in book format so I can enjoy them for years to come.

    Post-holiday greetings

    The TRB team took a little break from blogging and the internets the past week, but we all hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I am one of those people who absolutely loves Christmas, but I always end up getting a touch of the holiday blues. Weird, I know. I think The Bloggess put it very nicely when she talked about weird expectations and sometimes our brains misfire. Point being, I understand it’s not always the most wonderful time of the year for people, but I do hope your time was wonderful and you took good care of yourself. 🙂

    I ended up taking care of myself by being productive yesterday! I made five gallons of laundry detergent (I think I’m set for 2016), sorted through some clothes to donate, vacuumed extensively, scrubbed by stove top coils, cooked some soup, and watched my brother hang a coat rack. I watched to learn: as I told him, I’m not 100% confident of how to find studs, when to use those butterfly/anchor hooks in drywall, etc. I knew I could try but I didn’t want to end up with a zillion holes in my wall before I figured it out. Now I know and I have a nifty new coat rack to book. More things on the walls = more room! I love it.

    Grizzy in the kitchen wanting me to pet him

    Momma, it is time to pet me!

    Grizzy is quite the baby (and I love him for that) and decided I wasn’t spending enough time with him, so he proceeded to flop down by my feet and roll around the kitchen floor. It was quite endearing. After I took my laundry soap to the basement and popped my stovetop coils back on, we settled down to watch A Chef’s Life. It’s a wonderful life, indeed.

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    Double-decker kitties

    …anxiously waiting for the snow to arrive!

    Double-decker kitties.

    Double-decker kitties.

    I hope you all had a nice weekend. This was the first weekend in a really long time where I didn’t have too much to do. It was weird to get errands done on Saturday and realize “Hey, I can take a nap.” One of my favorite things is laying down for a nap and then the cats come up and join me. I always think “It’s family nap time!” I was especially happy to get in a lot sleeping time on Saturday because I woke up feeling like death. Thankfully that passed for the most part, because on Sunday I had a concert to go to. Specifically, I was asked to tell a holiday story at my friend’s Christmas concert.

    It was really nice–there were singers, a little brass band, soloists… My mom and sister went and both commented that it was like the holiday concerts of our youth. It was at a small church and it was really nice and cozy; a lovely sense of community. A very nice time.

    I hope you had an equally nice weekend! Here’s to three-day work weeks!


    Thrifty Thursday: Holiday nook

    The thrifty holiday nook.

    The thrifty holiday nook.

    Can you have a favorite corner of the living room? Well, I do, and here it is. I love that I can sit on the edge of my couch, lean over and scan my books, pick one and settle in for a night of reading. The tree lights up, giving a nice glow (although sometimes making iPhone images look wonky). I like the old fashioned Santa triptych; it makes me ridiculously happy.

    Those two items, along with the runner, the bookshelf, and a good assortment of books were all thrifted! Yet another thing that makes me ridiculously cozy. 🙂

    Christmas Eve is only one week away! Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you enjoy this next week.


    Christmas chillin’

    Last week I decided I was going to wrap all the Christmas presents. My living room was very cozy chaos. I had to laugh, though, because at one point I looked to my left and saw the cats and realized from two different angles, it looked very different.

    On the left, you see the furkids chillin’:

    Sophie and Grizzy watching me wrap presents

    Chilling out, as usual.

    (That humidifier; best thing I ever invested in. I love the humidifier, they love the box.)

    A little more to the right, a wrapping explosion!

    Christmas chaos in the living room

    Christmas chaos.

    It was a lot of fun, though! And actually quite relaxing. Something I’ve been trying to do more of. This holiday season seems to have been going by in a flash! I’m trying to slow down and enjoy every minute of it.

    Seeing as 2016 will be here in, oh two weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year. Talk about a wild one. I’ve read about people choosing one word for their year, and I have in fact tried it, but I’ve forgotten the word every year. That’s right: one word, specially chosen for the year, and I forget it.

    I have been thinking about a general theme, though, and that would be something along the lines of balance. Or enjoyment. More enjoying, less stressing, that sort of thing. The thing I say I’m going to do, oh, every year and never do. However, now that life seems to have settled down a bit ::knocks wood:: (or maybe because I’m better prepared for unexpected challenges?) I think I’ll try it again. Not sure.

    In the meantime, have a great almost penultimate week of 2015!


    Thrifty Thursday: Jazzy holiday socks!

    For this week’s Thrifty Thursday I continue with the Christmas theme. Check out these beauties:

    Aw, yeah, it's Jazzercise!

    Aw, yeah, it’s Jazzercise!

    Aw, yeah, it's Jazzercise! socks

    Branded, even!

    New with tags! I mean, get out of town! You can jingle all the way to the holidays with this festive footwear. No need for an ugly Christmas sweater with these old vintage threads.

    Truth be told, I think these are loads of kitschy fun, but I don’t know where I’d wear them. I’m sure they’ll have their day – just not in a gym. Being made of only nylon and acrylic, no spandex for stretch or wicking material, I can’t imagine they’d be very comfortable on sweaty, Jazzercising-feet.

    A quick search online turned up no holiday Jazzercise socks, so I can’t be sure when they were made, where they were sold or given away, or what other gems made up the holiday Jazzercise wardrobe. Alas. Still, I’m glad to have snagged these bad boys. They might be fun for a silly holiday exchange. 🙂


    Wordless Wednesday: Christmas greeters

    Sophie and Grizzy on Christmas blankets

    So sweet.

    My heart will never grow tired of seeing these two faces look up at me when I get home. ❤


    But where is the snow?

    Sophie on the humidifier box

    But where is the snow?

    I liked how Sophie was gazing out the window. Perhaps she was wondering where the snow is, too? 🙂

    I like snow and sadly, there is no snow here! Hopefully this will change soon. Snow is very peaceful and calming. I don’t particularly enjoy driving in it, but I do like walking in it. I also like being tucked up inside while it snows outside. Something about snow gives me a much-needed pause. Oh, snow…where are you?

    The heat is on, though, so this place is super dry. My old humidifier broke and I broke down (har, har) and bought a sweet two-tank humidifier. It is so worth the money! I’m loving the lack of static and weeks later, Grizzy and Sophie are loving the box. A win-win!

    Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

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    Thrifty Thursday: Santa shirts!

    I’ve said it before, but you can find such great practical stuff at thrift stores. Things you’ll actually use more than you think, like workout gear. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you even find items that work double-duty, like a Santa-print running shirt for a holiday run! 🙂

    JBR 2015

    Flossin’ and stunning in my thrift store threads.

    This shirt is especially great because it’s made of a light wicking material. The run was in November, but it was hot. I passed a mom and her son and the mom was insisting the boy “Drink this water now, I don’t need you to have heatstroke!” I don’t know that it was quite that hot, but it was unseasonably warm. I could have comfortably run in shirts and a t-shirt, to be honest. During the run I was sweating plenty but this shirt kept me relatively cool and didn’t stick to me, thanks to the wicking material. Another thrift store win for maybe $4.

    In other news, this was my first attempt at Photoshop! Yay! I didn’t do anything to me; I just blocked out the license plate, cropped it, and added some text. I’m trying to get more familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator, so be on the lookout for new and exciting experiments coming here soon. Haha.

    Anyhow, this picture got me thinking. Let me backtrack. This past weekend I was digging through old photos and it was very strange and even sad because I looked at some photos and thought, “Wow, I thought I was ugly/heavy/not good enough” and a whole mess of other negative things, which frankly weren’t true. I was young, physically healthy, and had no basis for feeling those things. It upset me that I felt so bad about myself and directed all those negative thoughts inward. So when I saw the picture above, a part of me started to have that knee-jerk reaction of “I should be/look/have…”. Then I decided screw that. I don’t want to see “Oh, my thighs are too big” or “OMG wrinkles.” I want to look and see the positives. I don’t want to beat myself for not being Photoshop perfect because really, no one is. And even if they were, too bad, so sad.

    In this picture, I just finished a 5K and I felt great. I see a body that just carried me through a 3.1-mile run. This picture reminds me that I have mind that keeps me focused when I think “I’m too old for this” and want to quit. I also see a pretty stellar thrift-store shirt and a cup of coffee, which explains the silly grin on my face.

    I also see what a gorgeous day it was! I don’t often get down to the lakefront, but gosh, it really is pretty.

    Anyhow. That’s what I want to see when I see myself in pictures* – and I hope you see the good when you look at pictures of yourself, too. 🙂

    *At least the good ones, haha. My brother played paparazzi during the race and he got an extreme close-up of me mid-race that I’m keeping under wraps! But at least I can laugh at it.


    Wordless Wednesday – The Doormat

    Sophie in the door mat

    Sweet Sophie

    Sophie really loves doormats…